Wednesday, October 2, 2013

She Works Hard for Her Money

Since yesterday's post was about desperate times, I think it only appropriate to share stories of strange things I've done for money. Many of my stories are creative nonfiction, and by that I mean they are true tales of my experiences, with a little, um, enhancement thrown in to make them funnier.

I sometimes do odd jobs, and by odd jobs, I mean weird stuff for money.

I was once hired by some outfit that had sold the latest in ultrasound equipment to a hospital, and then had to show all of the highly educated medical staff how to turn it on.

They also needed some organs.

The company called it modeling, I called it my dream job: resting all day and being paid enough to keep the gas turned on a little longer.

My years of experience in wearing loose, comfortable clothing, combined with my highly developed skill of lying down for long stretches of time made me the ideal candidate.

I arrived early and took my position on the gurney, at the front of a large classroom. Beside me was the magic spaceship ultrasound machine (MSUM). A movie screen covered an entire wall. I fluffed my pillow and snuggled into the (bonus!) blanket.

The guy that understood all the controls on the MSUM came in and spun me around to meet the class, then spun me back toward the big screen, and we were ready to roll. He warned me that the goop about to land on my abdomen was cold, as if I were some rookie medical model.

An ultrasound machine has all the usual computer stuff – a cpu, monitor, keyboard, disk storage, printer, facebook – but what makes it worth a billion dollars is the transducer probe, which is the part that sends and receives sound waves while rolling around in the cold goop on your body.

The low light combined with the hum of the MSUM put me out immediately. The MSUM expert woke me up to ask me to take a deep breath and hold it, but I was able to get back to sleep fairly quickly.

My dreams were rudely interrupted some time later, when the entire student body gasped and applauded. They had just seen my polyp-covered spleen in 3D on the big screen. The rocket scientist said I didn’t have to race to the doctor or anything, so I went back to sleep.

After organ modeling all morning, I was famished. Lunch was catered in, so the students chatted with the very smart tech guru while I sat in the corner eating finger sandwiches and pasta salad. Then I went back to work, and not sharing the students’ fascination with watching my lunch literally go down, I fell asleep.

I was resting peacefully until the MSUM science guy jarred me into alertness as he read from the big screen:

“In addition to probes that can be moved across the surface of the body, some probes are designed to be inserted through various openings of the body (vagina, rectum, esophagus) so that they can get closer to the organ being examined (uterus, prostate gland, stomach); getting closer to the organ can allow for more detailed views.” Freudenrich, Ph.D., Craig.  "How Ultrasound Works"  22 January 2001.  02 October 2013.  

My reaction was exactly like the one you have when you’ve got a real job to get to and the radio alarm goes off and you are only half awake, listening to the news when they report that wild fire has spread to your neighborhood and you have to get out immediately, without, sorry, taking time to get your pets, because you have to GO NOW.

Professor Probe pushed buttons and switched out some parts.  He chuckled while waving the insertable thing around like a conductor’s baton. Then he pointed it at the clock and said we were nearly out of time. The students should come up and look over the MSUM and all of its transducers while I wiped goop off my belly with the blanket.

They thanked me for modeling, I thanked them for running out of time, and I was off to pay the gasman.


  1. Ha! That was a cute story! Now...if I could find a job where I could nap during the day...LOL

    Peggy (from UBC)

    1. Ha! That was the only time I got paid to sleep. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. That was entertaining, great execution, lol! In these times I'm sure there are many others out there that are up to some very odd things for money...

    1. Ashley, I'm sure there are! Gotta get creative in this economy : )

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